I can't believe we're almost half-way through the first month of a new year... January, of course, is always a busy month around here - unlike other households, we're not going on a diet to keep half-hearted resolutions, on the contrary! We have so many birthdays to celebrate that we just go on indulging as if we had managed to keep our waists from expanding over the holidays! I have never been one for birthdays, I love celebrating other people's, but I normally tend to ignore my own. Ever since my youngest son, Henrik, was born three days after my birthday in 2007, my birthday has turned into a complete non-event... so much so that this year, I am rising in defiance and will celebrate not once, but at least four times: dinner with food blogging friends tomorrow, birthday brunch with local Mums on Friday, birthday dinner with the family (seafood extravaganza at home, yeah, in important situations like this one, I don't trust anyone else to cook my food ;-)) and a surprise dinner organised by my husband, probably a bit later in the year as he's left it till too late as usual...
Plenty of occasions to serve up some finger food then - this recipe is one that I promised to post in English eventually and here it is: a creamy, indulgent potato and blue cheese soup served in shot glasses, accompanied by crispy garlic butter toasts. The soup is wonderfully moreish and comforting on a cold winter evening, so also stands in as a perfect and quick weekday supper! You can use any blue cheese, but I tend to go for a creamy gorgonzola, if you prefer something a bit more pungent, try it with stilton or roquefort. If you want to go for something a bit less rustic and more luxurious, you could also use some truffles instead of the cheese and truffle oil for the toasts... You must, however, go out of your way to find good rye bread for the garlic butter crisps, the wonderful aroma of caraway and honey that is traditionally used in Austrian/German rye bread is a great complement for this wintery soup - simple toast just wouldn't cut the mustard here!
Potato and blue cheese soup shots with garlic butter rye toasts
(yields ca. 60 shot glasses, enough for 2 as a starter)
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp butter
ca. 500 g floury potatoes (e.g. Vivaldi or baking potatoes)
100 ml sherry oloroso
500 ml vegetable stock
75 g gorgonzola
salt, pepper to taste
For the garlic butter toasts:
3 - 5 very thin slices of rye bread
15 g butter (lightly salted)
1 small clove garlic
Peel and chop the onions, peel and crush the garlic. In a heavy-based pot, melt the butter, then fry the onion until translucent. Peel and finely dice the potatoes. Add the garlic and potatoes to the onions and cook for another few minutes. Deglaze with the sherry, leave to bubble for about 3 minutes, then add the stock. Cook on medium to low heat until the potatoes are soft, then add the diced gorgonzola and leave to melt. Puree and season with salt and pepper.
For the toasts, melt the butter in a pan, season with pepper. Cut the rye slices into strips that comfortably sit on the rim of the glasses without touching the soup. Brush toasts with garlic butter and brown under the preheated grill for about 2 minutes.
If serving in shot glasses, dilute until the soup has a comfortable pouring consistency, you don't want half of the soup stuck in the glass. Arranging is easiest using a squeeze bottle to pour into the shot glasses, make sure the tray/plate you're serving the shot glasses on is not slippery or place chives underneath to prevent slippage.
Top each glass with a rye toast and serve the soup warm, but not scalding - the glasses must be easy to hold and the soup quick to drink.
If serving as a starter, you could serve the rye bread in the form of chunky croutons rather than thin toasts - dice accordingly and toss in the warm garlic butter, then top the soup with the croutons just before serving.